List of LGBT Catholics

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There have been a number of LGBT Catholics throughout history.



Andy Warhol, who was gay, was an active Catholic
  • A number of influential Italian Catholic artists of the Renaissance and the Baroque who were notable for their religious paintings and sculpture were considered to have been homosexual or bisexual. These include Donatello,[2] Sandro Botticelli,[3] Leonardo da Vinci[4] and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.[5] In addition, Michelangelo Buonarotti was noted for painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, under which popes are elected to this day.[6]
  • Andy Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art; and whose homosexuality strongly influenced his work.[7] He was a Ruthenian Catholic and regularly volunteered at homeless shelters in New York to practice his faith. He described himself as a religious person and regularly attended mass.[8]
  • Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–89) was an American photographer. From 1977 until 1980, Mapplethorpe was the lover of gay writer and Drummer magazine editor Jack Fritscher.[9] He was brought up in a Roman Catholic household and although he later "lapsed" from practicing the religion, he created art suffused with Catholicism - particularly in the areas of Catholic guilt and eroticism.[10][11]

Politicians, military leaders, and royalty[edit]

  • The military commander of the Catholic Imperial forces in the Holy Roman Empire, Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663 – 1736) was predominantly homosexual[12]
  • Christina, Queen of Sweden (1626 – 1689) reigned from 1632 before her abdication in 1654. Modern biographers generally consider her to have been a lesbian, and her affairs with women were noted during her lifetime.[13] She was a prominent convert to Catholicism in 1654, and is the only woman to be buried in the crypt of St. Peters Basilica in Rome.
  • Ludwig II (1845 – 1886) was King of the Catholic Kingdom of Bavaria from 1864 until his death; it is known from his diary and private letters that he had strong homosexual desires which he tried to suppress.[14] He remained a devout Catholic throughout his life and attended services regularly; building chapels for prayer within his castles, and commissioning religious art.[15]
  • Albert Augustine Edwards (1888–1963) was a member of the South Australian House of Assembly.[16] He was a great benefactor of Catholic charitable work among the poor of Adelaide; and a regular attendee of services at Adelaide cathedral, where his funeral was ultimately held.[17]
  • Ruth Hunt (b. 1980) is Chief Executive of leading UK-based lesbian, gay and bisexual equality organisation Stonewall,[18] the largest gay equality body in Europe.[19] She was formerly President of the Oxford University Student Union.[20] Hunt is a practicing Roman Catholic and has spoken out in favour of bridging the gap between faith leaders and LGBT communities.[21]
  • Stefan Kaufmann (born 1969) is a German politician and member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He is openly gay,[22] and a devout practising catholic.[23]
  • Pim Fortuyn (1948-2002) the Dutch politician, and civil servant was openly gay; stating in a 2002 interview that he was Catholic.[24]
  • Klaus Wowereit (born 1953), German politician, former mayor of Berlin
  • Jens Spahn (born 1980), German politician, Federal Minister of Health

Clergy and religious[edit]

  • Francis Joseph Spellman (1889 – 1967) was an American bishop and cardinal. From 1939 until his death in 1967, he served as the sixth Archbishop of New York. FBI files suggested that Spellman was an active, if covert, homosexual.[25]
  • John J. McNeill (1924 - 2015) was ordained as a Jesuit priest[26] in 1959. He was gay and worked as a psychotherapist and an academic theologian with a particular reputation within the field of Queer Theology.[27]
  • Benedetta Carlini (1591-1660) was the abbess of the Convent of the Mother of God in Pescia, who shared her cell with Sister Bartolomea. When the two nuns made love, Sister Benedetta said she experienced mystical visions and angelic possession. The church authorities investigated the mystical experiences and, upon discovering her lesbian sexuality, stripped Carlini of her position as abbess and held her under guard for the remainder of her life.[28]
  • Henry Benedict Stuart was a Roman Catholic cardinal, as well as the fourth and final Jacobite heir to publicly claim the thrones of England, Scotland, France and Ireland. Several contemporaries strongly suggested he was homosexual (although chaste).[29]
  • Antonio Barberini (1607 - 1671) was an Italian Catholic cardinal, Archbishop of Reims, military leader, patron of the arts and a prominent member of the House of Barberini. He was bisexual.[30]
  • Carlo Carafa (1517 - 1561) was a Roman Catholic cardinal, and all-powerful favourite and Cardinal Nephew of Pope Paul IV Carafa, whose policies he directed and whom he served as papal legate in Paris, Venice and Brussels. He was convicted of a number of crimes, including homosexual sodomy, and executed.[31]


Oscar Wilde, convicted by Britain for homosexual acts, converted to Catholicism on his deathbed
  • In Britain, a number of late 19th-century authors who converted to Catholicism were gay or bisexual, among them Oscar Wilde, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Lord Alfred Douglas, Marc-André Raffalovich, Robert Hugh Benson, Frederick Rolfe[32][33] and John Gray.[34] These male writers sometimes found, in their Catholicism, a means of writing about their attraction to and desire for relationships with other men. Wilde had Catholic tendencies throughout his life and converted on his deathbed. He wrote about himself in De Profundis, during his imprisonment and hard labor, as akin to Christ embodying suffering, and invoked Christ's transformative power for the oppressed.[35] Wilde's sometime lover, the poet John Gray, was Catholic. Raffalovich compared the physicality and the ecstasy of devotion to Christ to same-sex erotic desire.[36] Hopkins's work was strongly marked by physicality and eroticism in its religious references, and the poet, who was reminded of Christ by other men whom he found beautiful, dwelt on the physicality of Christ's body and intimacy of his comfort and love.[32][37]
  • Radclyffe Hall, author of The Well of Loneliness, was also a convert to Catholicism. Joanne Glasgow writes that for Hall and other lesbians of the early twentieth century, such as Alice B. Toklas, the church's erasure of female sexuality offered a cover for lesbianism.[38]
  • Marcel Proust was one of the first European novelists to feature homosexuality openly and at length in his writings; and was considered to have been homosexual.[39]
  • Tennessee Williams was an American playwright who created many works that have become stage classics.[40] He believed that his work was full of deep Christian symbolism, and admitted loving "the beauty of the ritual in the Mass"; yet nevertheless thought the tenets of the Roman Catholic church to be "ridiculous".[41]
  • David Berger (b. 1968) is a German theologian, author and gay activist. He taught as a professor at the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.[42] However, since May 2013 he has been editor-in-chief of German gay lifestyle-magazine MÄNNER (Berlin).
  • Eve Tushnet is a lesbian Catholic author and blogger.[43] She converted to Catholicism in 1998, and chooses to be celibate in accordance with the Catholic Church's ban on sex outside heterosexual marriage.[44]
  • Milo Yiannopoulos is a British political commentator, media personality, blogger, journalist and author associated politically with the alt-right. He is a practicing Catholic and sexually active gay man.[45]


Singers and musicians[edit]

Josephine Baker, bisexual singer and convert to Catholicism
  • Jeanine Deckers (d. 1985) was known as The Singing Nun or Sœur Sourire. She was a Belgian singer-songwriter and was at one time a member of the Dominican Order. After leaving the order, she remained a practicing Catholic. Some 14 years later, she began a lesbian relationship with a lifelong friend.[48]
  • Vaslav Nijinsky was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer of Polish descent, cited as the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century. He was romantically involved with Sergei Diaghilev.[49][50]
  • The pianist and entertainer Liberace was recognized during his career with two Emmy Awards, six gold albums and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He had a four-year relationship with Scott Thorson. Described as a devout Catholic, he was received in a private audience by Pope Pius XII.[51]
  • Josephine Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, or to become a world-famous entertainer.[52] She was bisexual, having had relationships with men and women.[53] In her later years, Baker converted to Roman Catholicism.[54]
  • Francis Poulenc was a French composer and pianist. He was predominantly gay, yet struggled with his sexuality.[55] Following the death of a close friend in the 1930s, he rediscovered his Roman Catholic faith and replaced the ironic nature of neo-classicism with a new-found spiritual depth.[56]
  • The musician Ricky Martin has sold over 70 million albums and has had 95 platinum records.[57]
  • The Lebanese-British singer-songwriter Mika has acknowledged his Catholic upbringing but has written about his conflicting relationship with the Catholic Church and its stance on homosexuality in his music. He still considers himself Roman Catholic, and has indicated that his song "The Origin of Love" is about religion. "It's about the Roman Catholic Church, which I love dearly – even though I'm not a bigot and I'm not in denial of the human condition. Yet, at the same time, it's a very strange thing, 'cause I'm very respectful of that world."
  • American country music singer Steve Grand is openly gay and a practicing Catholic.[58]

Actors and directors[edit]

  • Jean Cocteau was a celebrated French writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker.[59] After a long absence from the Church, he returned to practicing his Catholic faith in his later years; he was known to be very devout. He designed and painted murals for the Church of Notre Dame de France in London.[60]
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922 – 1975) was an Italian film director, poet, writer and intellectual. He was openly gay.[61] He described himself as a "Catholic Marxist"; although elsewhere insisted he was an atheist. His film The Gospel According to St. Matthew, an account of the New Testament story, part-financed by the Catholic Church, and dedicated to "the dear, joyous, familiar memory of Pope John XXIII".[62] It portrayed Jesus as a barefoot peasant of the people. The film won the Grand Prize at the International Catholic Film Office.[63]
  • Lucio Dalla was a popular Italian singer-songwriter, musician and actor.[64] He was outed as gay after his death (having had a long-term partner, Marco Alemanno).[65] He was a practicing Roman Catholic, and was given a funeral mass in San Petronio Basilica at Bologna.[66]
  • Franco Zeffirelli is an Italian director and producer of films and television.[67] He is a practicing Catholic who believes that "Catholicism is the only [religion] that comprehensively meets the needs of mankind." He has spoken about the making of the film Jesus of Nazareth as representing an important turning point - giving him "the opportunity to draw closer to the mystery of Christ".[68]
  • Pedro Almodóvar (b.1949) is a Spanish film director, screenwriter, producer and former actor who was reared as Catholic. He is openly gay.[69] Many of his films contain strong Catholic imagery. His film Dark Habits (1983) features a mother superior in a convent who is also a lesbian. The 2004 film Bad Education deals with the theme of the sexual abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests.
  • Hape Kerkeling (b. 1964), German actor and comedian

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Curb, Rosemary; Manahan, Nancy (1985) Lesbian nuns : breaking silence. Tallahassee, FL. Naiad Press.
  2. ^ Paul Strathern, The Medici: Godfather of the Renaissance, London, 2003 [page(s) needed].
  3. ^ Jacques Mesnil, Botticelli, Paris, 1938 [page(s) needed].
  4. ^ Michael Rocke, Forbidden Friendships epigraph, p. 148 & N120 p. 298.
  5. ^ Andrew Graham-Dixon, Caravaggio: A life sacred and profane, Penguin, 2011 [page(s) needed].
  6. ^ Scigliano, Eric: Michelangelo's Mountain: The Quest for Perfection in the Marble Quarries of Carrara, Simon and Schuster, 2005. Retrieved 27 January 2007 [page(s) needed].
  7. ^ See biographers such as Victor Bockris, and art historian Meyer, Richard (2002). Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art. Oxford University Press. p. 125. ISBN 0-19-510760-8.
  8. ^ Romaine, James (12 November 2003). "Transubstantiating the Culture: Andy Warhol's Secret". Godspy. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  9. ^ Jack Fritscher, Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer, San Francisco, Palm Drive Publishing, 2008, ISBN 1890834386, p. 473,, retrieved 29 September 2014.
  10. ^ Eleanor Heartney, Postmodern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art, 2004, p. 82.
  11. ^ Kara Kelley Hallmark, Twentieth Century United States Photographers: A Student's Guide, 2008 [page(s) needed].
  12. ^ Nicholas Henderson, Eugen of Savoy, London, 1964
  13. ^ Crompton, Louis (2009). Homosexuality and Civilization. Harvard University Press. pp. 357–60.
  14. ^ McIntosh, Christopher. The Swan King: Ludwig II of Bavaria. (1982)
  15. ^ Clara Tschudi, Ludwig II King of Bavaria
  16. ^ Hilliard, David (2002). "Edwards, Albert Augustine". In Robert Aldrich, Garry Wotherspoon. Who's who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to World War II. Psychology Press. pp. 168–9. ISBN 9780415159838.
  17. ^ "Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide - People Associated with the Cathedral".
  18. ^ "Stonewall". Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  19. ^ "About us". Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  20. ^ "Ruth Hunt". LinkedIn. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  21. ^ "BBC News - Archbishop Vincent Nichols stops Soho gay Catholic Mass". 2 January 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  22. ^ "Merkel veut réveiller la CDU grâce aux femmes et aux immigrés" (in French). 5 December 2012. Stefan Kaufmann, député au Bundestag et l'un des rares élus CDU ouvertement gay...
  23. ^ "Katholische Pius-Bruderschaft vergleicht Schwule mit Nazis".
  24. ^ Eyck, Mark (15 February 2002). "Interview: Pim Fortuyn". Katholiek Nieuwsblad (Catholic Newspaper). Archived from the original on 6 March 2002.
    " Question: U beschouwt zichzelf nog wel als katholiek? Answer: Ja, daar ontkom je niet aan. [..] Question: Toch noemt u zich ondanks uw homoseksualiteit nog steeds katholiek. Answer: Ik bén katholiek! Ik ben nota bene gedoopt! Ik noem me niet zo, ik ben het!" (Question: Do you still consider yourself a Catholic? Answer: Yes, you can't escape from that. [..] Question: But in spite of your homosexuality you still call yourself a Catholic. Answer: I am a Catholic. I have, after all, been baptised! I don't call myself one, I am one!)
  25. ^ Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover, The Man and the Secrets (NY: W. W. Norton, 1991), notes page 347.
  26. ^ Briggs, Kenneth A. (2 September 1977). "Vatican Silences Priest Who Urged Church Ease View". The New Yorks Times. p. 34. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  27. ^ Wilson, Rev Dr Nancy (24 September 2015). "Catholics Lose Pioneer Gay Leader: Will Pope Francis Express Grief for Fellow Jesuit?".
  28. ^ Judith Brown: Immodest Acts: The Life of A Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy: New York: Oxford University Press: 1986
  29. ^ Rosalind K. Marshall, 'Henry Benedict (1725–1807)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2010, accessed 24 June 2013.
  30. ^ Eleanor Herman, Mistress of the Vatican, HarperCollins, 2009
  31. ^ Miles Pattenden, Pius IV and the Fall of The Carafa: Nepotism and Papal Authority in Counter Reformation Rome
  32. ^ a b Woods, Gregory (1999). A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition. Yale University Press.
  33. ^ Hilliard, David (1982). "Un-English and Unmanly: Anglo-Catholicism and Homosexuality" (PDF). Victorian Studies.
  34. ^ Hilliard, David (2002). "Gray, John". In Robert Aldrich, Garry Wotherspoon. Who's who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to World War II. Psychology Press. pp. 224–5. ISBN 9780415159838.
  35. ^ Roden, Frederick S. (2013). Unruly Catholics from Dante to Madonna: Faith, Heresy, and Politics in Cultural Studies. Scarecrow Press.
  36. ^ Roden, Frederick S. (2013). "Medieval Religion, Victorian Homosexualities". Medievalism and the Quest for the Real Middle Ages. Routledge. p. 127.
  37. ^ Sobolev, Dennis (2011). The Split World of Gerard Manley Hopkins: An Essay in Semiotic Phenomenology. Catholic University of America Press.
  38. ^ Haddox, Thomas F. (2005). Fears and Fascinations: Representing Catholicism in the American South. Fordham University Press. pp. 89–90.
  39. ^ White, Edmund (1999). Marcel Proust: A Life, page 46
  40. ^ Harold Bloom, Tennessee Williams, Chelsea House Publishing.
  41. ^ Rader, Interviewed by Dotson. "Tennessee Williams, The Art of Theater No. 5".
  42. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Theologe David Berger: "Großer Teil der katholischen Kleriker ist homosexuell" - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Panorama". SPIEGEL ONLINE.
  43. ^ "'Gay and Catholic': An Interview with Author Eve Tushnet". America Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  44. ^ Boorstein, Michelle (13 December 2014). "Gay Christians choosing celibacy emerge from the shadows". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  45. ^ Stein, Joel (15 September 2016). "Milo Yiannopoulos Is the Pretty, Mostruous Face of the Alt-Right". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  46. ^ Dunlap, David W. (25 December 1994). "John E. Boswell, 47, Historian Of Medieval Gay Culture, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  47. ^ Cahill, Brian (4 August 2012). "Catholic Church wrong on gay nuptials". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  48. ^ "Interview: Leen Van Den Berg over Soeur Sourire: Zie me graag" [Interview: Leen Van Den Berg on Soeur Sourire: See me happy]. Gaylive.Be. Archived from the original on 1 December 2014.
  49. ^ Joan Acocella (14 January 1999). "Secrets of Nijinsky". New York Review of Books.
  50. ^ Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures edited by George Haggerty, Bonnie Zimmerman (2000), p993
  51. ^ Thornton, Michael (24 May 2013). "The lonely Liberace I knew". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  52. ^ Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life By Marjorie Garber, p.122
  53. ^ Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life By Marjorie Garber, p.122
  54. ^ "Biography in Context - Document".
  55. ^ Ivry, Benjamin (1996). Francis Poulenc. London: Phaidon Press.
  56. ^ "Francis Poulenc - Short Biography - Music Sales Classical".
  57. ^ Yep, He's Gay: Ricky Martin Comes Out of the Closet | Rolling Stone Music. (29 March 2010). Retrieved on 25 February 2011.
  58. ^ Steve Grand On Catholicism: The Side You Haven't Seen Of 'The First Openly Gay Male Country Star', Huffington Post, 9/8/13
  59. ^ James S. Williams. Jean Cocteau.
  60. ^ "London: French Church celebrates restored Cocteau murals - Independent Catholic News".
  61. ^ Ehrenstein, David (2005). "Pasolini, Pier Paolo", glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
  62. ^ "Biography". Pier Paolo Pasolini. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  63. ^ Wakeman. pp. 747.
  64. ^ "Le polemiche su Lucio Dalla sono una vendetta dei gay". La Repubblica. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  65. ^ "Le polemiche su Lucio Dalla sono una vendetta dei gay". La Repubblica. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  66. ^ "Celebrity's Funeral Fuels Debate about Church and Homosexuality", Irish Times
  67. ^ Barbara McMahon (21 November 2006). "Zeffirelli tells all about priest's sexual assault". The Guardian.
  68. ^ Article by Mario Conte, "God & I: Franco Zeffirelli", 9th May 2003, Messenger of Saint Anthony:
  69. ^ "Pedro Almodóvar".